During their 20-year marriage, Tim and Jane Farnsworth have savored the fruits of his labor as a high-powered lawyer: they live in a beautiful home, they travel on exotic vacations, they dont worry about money. Tim has battled a bizarre, inexplicable illness, but those episodes, while not exactly forgotten, have passed. Then it comes back, causing him to behave in a frighteningly new way, driving him out of his life and into a world and a self that he cant recognize and Jane is helpless to control. How far will he go to fight his bodys incomprehensible desires, and what will they both risk to find the way back to the people they love?
A heartbreaking story of family and marriage, a meditation on the unseen forces of nature and desire, The Unnamed is a deeply felt, luminous novel about modern life, ancient yearnings, and the power of human connection.
THE FEET, MECHANICAL
It was the cruelest winter. The winds were rabid off the rivers. Ice came down like poisoned darts. Four blizzards in January alone, and the snowbanks froze into gray barricades as grim and impenetrable as anything in war. Tombstones were buried across the cemetery fields and cars parked curbside were swallowed undigested. The long-term debate about changing weather was put aside for immediate concern for the elderly and the shut-ins, while the children went weeks without school. Deliveries came to a halt and the warehouses clogged up on days the planes were approved to land. There were lines at the grocery store, short tempers, a grudging toward the burden of adjustment. Some clever public services addressed the civic concernsheat shelters, volunteer home checks. The cold was mother of invention, a vengeful mother whose lessons were delivered at the end of a lash.
The ride home was slow going because of the snow and the traffic. ...
At times, reading The Unnamed feels a bit like accompanying Tim on one of his involuntary walks - aimless, increasingly desperate, without an end in sight. In that way, the narrative style and structure perfectly echoes the novel's theme. Readers who, like Jane at times, are searching for answers to Tim's condition, may grow impatient with Tim's seemingly endless peregrinations. Most readers, however, will be drawn into Ferris's poetic, empathetic accounts of Tim's journeys and returns, and they will willingly join the author on his journey of exploration into one man's mysterious, heartbreaking decline... The Unnamed is both a surprising departure from the satirical social commentary of Ferris's debut and a second novel that - in its more personal focus and introspection - surpasses its predecessor.
(Reviewed by Norah Piehl).
Full Review (800 words).
Although Tim Farnsworth's condition never receives an official diagnosis in The Unnamed, his relentless walking might seem to belong to the category of obsessive/compulsive disorders.
Obsessions are defined as recurrent, unavoidable thoughts, and compulsions are categorized as repetitive behaviors. Obsessive/compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder, since not performing the compulsive behavior can result in increasing anxieties, and often patients perform the compulsive behavior specifically to try - successfully or not - to ward off anxiety.
For many people suffering from compulsive behaviors, the disorder takes the form of one or more "rituals" or routines that must be performed in ...
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